The time is finally here. After months of games, the Stage 2 Playoffs will arrive this weekend. FaZe Clan, eUnited, Team EnVyUs, OpTic Gaming, Fnatic, Splyce, Luminosity Gaming and Enigma6 will all be competing for a $500,000 prize pool. And after a stunning Stage 2 season where most predictions flew out the window, the stage is set for some real upsets.
The two biggest shifts heading in focus around FaZe Clan and eUnited, where a trade between James "Clayster" Eubanks and Pierce "Gunless" Hillman put renewed fire into the two teams, and with Team EnVyUs' dramatic reinvention. All three teams struggled to place highly in tournaments before their respective CWL Stage 2 pools.
However, after Clayster was traded to eUnited for Gunless, each team managed to take first place in their group. Clayster, in particular, looked like he's been playing with eUnited all year as he dropped some of the biggest numbers of his careers. Meanwhile, Gunless brought some much needed flexibility to FaZe Clan. Team EnVyUs' miserable seeding in CWL Anaheim forced them to grind their skills back to razor-sharp perfection. In just a short few weeks, all three teams came out looking like top contenders.
Luminosity Gaming, on the other hand, had to do very little to continue their meteoric rise. Simply put, LG was placed in the weakest group of Stage 2, and never had to exert much energy to finish well. Splyce, their biggest rival, meanwhile, were incredibly rocky in Group Yellow as their strategies and aim deteriorated from CWL Anaheim, taking a second seed spot instead of first. This put Luminosity Gaming and Splyce, the two teams most predicted to be Stage 2 champions, up against each other for both of their first games. This game will likely set Splyce's entire weekend run, making it a critical win for them.
OpTic Gaming will be going up against Fnatic. The European team has been counted out multiple times, but they beat out the dark horse of Group Red, Evil Geniuses, by being more consistent in their game. While OpTic Gaming is likely to win that first match, Fnatic shouldn't be counted out from winning a few games in the loser's brackets. The same goes for Enigma6, America's dark horse, who face a tough matchup against eUnited in their first game.
On the other side is Team EnVyUs and FaZe Clan. This, too, will set the weekend for Team EnVyUs, depending on which team we get. If it's the stand-out team from Group Green, it will be the hottest match on Friday, a tight game that will likely go to a Game 5 Search & Destroy. But if it's the Team EnVyUs from CWL Anaheim, FaZe Clan will have a breezy series.
As for who will make it to the finals, bet on Luminosity Gaming. The over-confident team has every reason to be cocky as they've dominated the last three months. Their main rival Splyce will have a difficult time this weekend after their demoralizing Group Yellow, but if they get back to their old standards they should face Luminosity Gaming once again in the finals. Close contenders for the finals will be eUnited and Team EnVyUs. Again, Team EnVyUs will need to show up like they did in Group Green, but if they do they will be at least making third place. The same goes for eUnited, who should have a smoother time if Clayster continues his gameplay from Group Stages.
With so many teams suddenly flopping in Group Stages, the weekend will be closer than even Stage 1. Stage 2 Playoffs start at 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday. Stay tuned to EGN for more up-to-date news on the CWL.